March 16, 2019
A Black London resident has spoken out after being the victim of racism on the London Underground last week. The man was taunted by six white commuters, making monkey sounds and gestures towards him.
A video of the incident went viral online, taking place on the Northern Line just before Kennington station on March 8. In the clip, the group is seen making monkey noises towards a Black passenger, after which one of the men hops on the train bench and starts impersonating a gorilla.
The victim, Mohammed Dirir, 27, said that he was shocked that it happened to him. During an interview, he shared that he was just minding on his own business until a group onboard and started to do monkey movements and noises.
"I tried to ignore it as much as possible but one of the guys gave me a thumbs up, and then I realized he wanted me to know I was being targeted.”
Dirir, a Netherlands resident, said he had the courage to confront the men and asked them to repeat their gestures so that he could film them. In the video, his fellow commuters were heard calling out the men as well.
So close to giving in, Dirir was about to fight back, until he realized he'd be fighting hate with hate, and he didn't want to send that kind of message.
“I could’ve fought them but then again, everybody would say I was just responding to hate with hate and adding more fuel to the fire. Being the man I am, I was raised to show love rather than hate. I had to set an example. You saw what happened.”
Transport For London's Director of Policing, Siwan Hayward, addressed the discriminatory incident, saying that their company has no tolerance for "any acts of racist behavior on our network and take all reports like this extremely seriously."
Hayward urges witnesses to come forward and file official reports with the British Transport police to sanction the suspects accordingly.
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